“NPA Brutally Killed My Husband”

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MANAY, DAVAO ORIENTAL – The wife of Ruben Inodio-an, a farmer who was brutally killed by the Communist New People’s Army rebels, said she is still at a loss why the rebels who called themselves as “defenders of the poor” would kill peace-loving, innocent and helpless civilians like her husband and their farm assistant.

Clara Inodio-an, 67, said that the NPA rebels killed her husband and their farm assistant, Boy Sumambot, as they attempted to flee for safety during an encounter in Barangay Lambog in Manay town on February 1, 2017.

Hiding under a coconut tree several meters away from where her husband was shot, Inodio-an said she witnessed her husband’s tragic death. “I saw the whole thing. I saw my husband being shot twice in the head and chest by the NPA rebels,” she said.

“We were fleeing our home in Sitio Paliwason in Barangay del Pilar as the firefight erupted in an outlying part of the neighboring village of Lambog situated several kilometers away from our home. We were on our way to the Barangay Hall in Lambog to evacuate. My husband mounted a horse while Sumambot brought our carabao along with our things. I chose to follow them behind on foot,” she said.

“I told him I was scared that we might encounter some of the rebels along the way but my husband told me not to worry as he was assured the rebels will not hurt us because we were civilians,” she said.

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The bodies of the two victims, who were killed by NPAs, retrieved by the rescuers two days after the killing. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Facing her worst fear, they came across some of the rebels retreating from the responding military soldiers. She said they were about 50 men. “My husband and our farm hand were approaching their direction while I hid,” she said.

“I saw my husband raised his hands, pleading for his life. He told them: ‘We are civilians’ in the hope the rebels would not hurt them. But still the rebels shot them,” she said. “We are just poor, ordinary people. I can’t understand why they would do this to us,” she said.

She debunked claims by Leftist groups that her husband and their farm hand were killed by government soldiers. “It is not true. I witnessed the whole incident myself. I saw the NPA rebels brutally killed my husband and our farm help. They are twisting the real story,” says Clara.

The rotting corpses of her husband and their farm assistant were only recovered two days after the brutal murder as residents refused to retrieve them for fear of the heavily armed Communist rebels. The horse and carabao that they brought along with them were found unscathed, she said.

Governor Dayanghirang visits the wake of Ruben Inodio-an

Governor Dayanghirang visits the wake of Ruben Inodio-an

She added that the military have been a lot of help to the people in the community development and in protecting civilians by driving away the Communist rebels. “In fact, one military soldier was killed while helping us,” she said, referring to the slain military junior officer of the 67th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, 2nd Lt. Miguel Victor Alejo, who was gunned down by the rebels as he was responding to the pleas of the civilians over the relentless threats and extortion activities of the rebels.

Inodio-an, who is resigned over her husband’s ‘cruel’ fate, only hopes for the fast resolution of the conflicts.

Prelude to the Attack

Days leading to the encounter, residents claim that a group of about a hundred NPA rebels have conducted a ‘pulong-pulong’ or gathering in the hinterland village of Rizal near Del Pilar and Lambog, forcing residents as young as fifteen years old and younger to join their ranks.

Residents said the rebels promised to give them P10,000 each and scores of other benefits in exchange for joining the rebel group. They also said the rebels intend to conduct a medical mission in their barangays in a bid to win their support for the rebel group. Inodio-an said there were some civilians who were forced to join the rebel group for fear of being killed by the guerrillas.

“Violence now reigns in our villages because of the entry of the heavily armed Communist rebels. They are sowing terror in civilian communities. We used to have peaceful communities until the rebels came,” said Inodio-an.

She said the conflict have drastically affected the lives of the residents as many intend to leave their villages which have now become the battlefields of warring government and rebel forces. Many residents who are mostly farmers were forced to leave their homes and their livelihoods behind, thus, hurting their income.

Although the areas have now been cleared by the military forces, some residents say that they are still enveloped with fear.

“I only wish that all these violence would end soon. That no lives would have to be sacrificed and no innocent civilians will have to suffer as a result,” said Inodio-an.  View video interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOFf74Uxt5E&feature=youtu.be

 

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